The Omicron variant has wreaked havoc on the upcoming A/W 2022 menswear season, largely in response to rising infection rates in Europe. In Florence, the Pitti Uomo 101 menswear fair schedule hasn't avoided disruption. Brunello Cucinelli cancelled its seasonal presentation and welcoming banquet – with the luxury label announcing it will still be showing its latest offering later on this week in Milan. Similarly, Caruso cancelled its public ‘jazz soirée’ performance, while Belgian pioneer Ann Demeulemeester, which had planned a 40th anniversary milestone celebration, postponed its festivities until later in 2022.
But inside the Fortezza da Basso and in luxurious locations around Florence, a host of brands pushed on. Pitti Uomo’s 101st menswear fair was themed around the concept of ‘Reflections’ and the duality of identity. Sectioned into a series of themes: ‘Fantastic Classic', ‘Superstyling', ‘Dynamic Attitude', ‘Sustainable Style' and ‘Scandinavian Manifesto', it covered evolutions in tailoring and formalwear (particularly poignant today in the wake of millions of men working from home), eco-aware clothing, outdoor wear and sartorial tropes synonymous with Denmark, Sweden and Norway.
Finnish label Latimmier delivered a Nordic knockout in the ballroom of the Palazzo Finlandese, that riffed in revelrous style on the possibilities of masculinity. ‘Show me what you’ve got... careful, bitch, it's expensive, don't throw it around,’ narrated the brand’s founder Ervin Latimer, sporting a voluminous blond wig, scarlett stilettos, pantyhose and a fringed leotard, as a troupe of models strutted and sashayed against a gilded backdrop, in deconstructed tailoring and shirting, Prince of Wales check trousers and panelled skirts, purple knitted dresses and leather biker pants. During a schedule marred by cancellations and restrictions, the show was joyful, uplifting and immersive.
‘Performance’ was on point at Pitti in other ways, as a host of outerwear labels presented their latest offerings, serving up technical prowess and design acumen. Viewing sustainability as a central design tenet, Lake Maggiore-based outerwear specialist Herno expanded on its Globe collection of eco-aware jackets and coats, presenting bold and patterned pieces in youthful tangerine and typographic prints, which spliced and diced different fabrications, using recycled polyester and nylon. The brand also unveiled its Monogram collection, featuring puffer jackets and trench coats tessellated with an archival logo from the 1960s. Fellow Italians Ten c championed hybrid design, creating a full wardrobe of pieces that blended the brand’s signature OJJ fabric with sheepskin, nylon and fleece, across pieces including parkas, puffer jackets and knitwear.
AlphaTauri, the premium clothing label that is the brainchild of Red Bull and places innovation at its core, presented its latest collection in its Mobile Innovation Lab – a flexible 60 sq m brand experience space in a truck. Futuristic fabrications and tones were a focus, with the brand also presenting the second iteration of its heatable capsule collection.
Pitti Uomo 101: the brands and the buzz
A host of burgeoning brands also advocated a sustainable approach to design. Waste Yarn Project, the unisex knitwear brand founded by Paris-based Siri Johansen, presented an energetic offering of kaleidoscopic jumpers, cardigans, beanies and blankets. These are knitted manually on machines in Shanghai, using yarn from small excess quantities, which cannot be reincorporated into large commercial production runs. ‘It’s actually just cheaper for brands to buy it new,’ Johansen told Wallpaper* in 2020 of the commercial reality of why larger labels choose not to reuse surplus yarn into their supply chains.
London-based label N Palmer presented its sophomore collection, an exuberant and prismatic 1970s-inflected offering featuring striped flares, patchwork shirting and floral jacquard shorts, that used entirely upcycled fabrics. Founder Nicholas Palmer used 45kg of striped shirts; 100 vintage silk scarves; over 1,000 vintage pins and badges; original 1970s deadstock graphic transfers; a personal archive of vintage midcentury metallic fabrics; and upcycled clothes and bed linens in his collection, that were otherwise destined for landfill. The collection nodded to the wardrobe of Mick Jagger, 1970s Meryl Meisler photos of Fire Island Pines and mid 20th-century sailors’ uniforms.
Sports and sleeping also made an appearance on the menswear agenda. British label Connolly – beloved by the most discerning fans of quality and timeless style – presented its debut Sporting collection, an offering celebrating the beauty of life on the road and classic motor sport racing. For those keen to get behind the wheel, Connolly advocates soft melange zip-up vests, snuggle shearling hoodies and double-breasted wool jackets. Touring accessories include the humorously named leather Road Rage Gloves, helmet and holdall, a style that secures with two buckled straps, and is detailed with racing patches.
Placing focus on loungewear for the home, 032c Workshop teamed up with bodywear brand Sloggi – the best-selling brief brand in Europe – on an 11-piece unisex comfortwear offering, created in collaboration with ready-to-wear creative director Maria Koch. The collection, based on the adage ‘Limit everything to the bare essentials. But don’t remove the poetry’, debuted with a bedding-inspired presentation at Pitti Uomo 101, featuring sweatshirts, T-shirts, turtlenecks, hoodies and sweatpants. Imagined in neutrals, greens, and purples, Sloggi's category expansion is guaranteed to bring pared-back pleasure. We imagine many travelling from Florence to Milan for the next iteration of the menswear circuit, will be keen to snuggle up in them.
Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*. Having previously held roles at 10, 10 Men and AnOther magazines, he joined the team in 2022. His work has a particular focus on the moments where fashion and style intersect with other creative disciplines – among them art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and profiling the industry’s leading figures and brands.
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